Category Archives: 2 – Longing vs Belonging – The challenge is both

One of the key objectives in marketing is reach: Reaching as many people as possible to win the biggest number of customers. When it comes to Super Premium brands it is not as simple. Of course, the goal remains: Maximizing your business. But to build and protect the brand’s equity, you have to carefully balance inclusiveness with exclusivity – staying slightly out of reach, while growing the same. Most Super Premium brands thus follow a top-down approach: They first foster relationships with a small base of taste-makers and trend-setters within their category. From this they grow gradually, leveraging their original fans both, as continuous proof of their superiority and desirability as well as missionaries to help them target and convert the broader market. Of course, for this it is crucial to always stay anchored in the top through ‘elite’ programs or simply and ultimately by remaining ahead of the curve – think of Red Bull’s latest dive from the skies. You can never cease to inspire the leaders if you want the rest of us to aspire. You must continue to move up and on (like Armani Privée) while becoming more and more available and approachable (AX Exchange, Armani Jeans) to ensure you always keep some longing in the belonging.

Recap
– A different way of targeting: Attract disciples first, then attack more broadly
– Grooming missionaries to convert fans and grow a cult into a movement

Here are Posts and Podcasts on this principle:

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Vanguard Investments – From ‘Folly’ to Fiduciary Giant

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As we work with clients on elevating their brands two questions arise repeatedly:  Can ‘ueber-branding’ be applied to more ‘technical’ categories – beyond luxury or lifestyle?  And do Ueber-Brand products HAVE to be premium priced? The short answer is ‘yes’ and … Continue reading

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The Tesla Tease: Exclusivity through Complicity

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Prestige brands don’t have it easy. We don’t want them to sell to us (in fact, they should ‘un-sell‘), but we love for them to seduce us. They must make us desire them, not just need them, for only then might we be willing to … Continue reading

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Growing with Gravitas – Shang Xia, Hermès’ Chinese Offspring

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Chinese artisan brand Shang Xia is a good example of a brand mastering two key ingredients to build a modern prestige brand: A strong sense of mission and the patience to grow with gravitas. The brand also showcases parent company Hermès’ genius … Continue reading

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Audemars Piguet – Adversity and Complications Make a Brand – Interview with Tim Sayler, CMO

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Audemars Piguet is up there, even in the already elevated world of ‘haute horlogerie’ and the Swiss Alps.  Le Brassus in the high valley of Joux is the birthplace and still the place of hand-crafting AP watches as Tim Sayler, … Continue reading

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Secrets of the Ueber-Brands

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Why do some pay a relative fortune for a MINI car, Renova toilet paper or a skin cream and detergent from Aesop when those seem to have none of the ‘functional superiority’ conventional marketers would seek to demonstrate? Why were … Continue reading

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Patagonia – A Meaningful Exploration of Nature

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Most of us associate Patagonia with the rugged, southernmost tip of America and/or with a brand of colorful, high-tech, high quality (and  somewhat high priced) outdoor clothes one would wear to explore that place.  And most of us have at least a feeling … Continue reading

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Johnnie Walker: Appeal at $1 and $1,000 a sip, alike. – Interview with Matteo Fantacchiotti, Diageo – Podcast Episode 06

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In this episode we talk to Matteo Fantacchiotti, Global Vice President, Diageo Luxury Division in Singapore. Diageo calls their high-end liquors the ‘Reserve Brands.’ These brands have grown well above category average and well past the previous segment leader in the … Continue reading

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Brand Ueber-Targets and How We Want To Be Like Them

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When it comes to defining our lifestyle or declaring our values, we need other people for orientation, as benchmarks or to listen to us and care – or it will not be a satisfying exercise.  We usually have some ideal state or person(s) we aspire … Continue reading

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Building a Brand on Bricks and Beliefs – Brunello Cucinelli – Podcast Episode 02

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We are discussing Brunello Cucinelli, the ‘Cashmere King’ and his eponymous brand with David LaRocca author, film maker and scholar of philosophy. David, like us, has been fascinated by Brunello, who says he is guided by the great historic thinkers … Continue reading

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How can Beauty Brand Hopes and Dreams hold up in front of the Digital Mirror?

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“Beauty is hope. It’s about our dreams and aspirations. Yet, as with everything, digital has made reality creep up on it big time. Where beauty brands, especially prestige ones, once fancied themselves as hovering above the fray in a realm … Continue reading

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Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the ‘Ueber-Brands’

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After some 4 years, 75+ interviews, 150 cases studied and uncounted conversations Wolf Schaefer and JP Kuehlwein are proud to present their latest book ‘Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands’ (Kogan Page Publishing).  You can order it online (links below) … Continue reading

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The Mini – Underdog makes Űberbrand

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The Mini is a runaway success by most measures – except size, maybe.  Who would have thought that this quirky, tiny car could carve out significant market share, again, when most other brands were talking size, comfort or power? And … Continue reading

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Le Cronut – Making a bastard doughnut an object of desire.

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If you live in New York City – or anywhere else hip – you will likely have heard about the ‘Cronut’ by now.  Maybe you have even lined-up to try to get one – or a maximum two.  Cronuts have … Continue reading

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How Premium Brands Grow Without Losing Their Glow – Part I

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Marketing “guru” Martin Lindstrom is concerned about the effects that ‘reaching-down’ and the ‘fashionization’ of Luxury labels has on their long-term ability to maintain desirability and premium price points. He writes in his piece “The Luxury Catch 22”  “With a … Continue reading

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Fashion Forward

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In the world of marketing, fashion has traditionally not been taken very seriously. It’s been viewed as un-strategic, driven more by short-term fads and personal quirks and hunches than solid planning and strategic thinking. Concerned more with ever-changing appearances than … Continue reading

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Aesop – Fabled Brand, Fabulous Marketing

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 – the Australian boutique Beauty Care brand founded in 1987 – intuitively masters the art of “class branding”.  It is a perfect case to illustrate key principles that – when lived by – can lift  a brand above the masses.  Of course their … Continue reading

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“A Case Against Fast Fashion Collaborations” or

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The Disillusionment of a Prestige Brand Believer. Eugene Rabkin is “Making The Case Against Fast Fashion Collaborations” in a popular Op-Ed on the Business of Fashion (BoF) blog.  He is joined in his criticism of the “democratization of fashion” and the “irresponsible consumer … Continue reading

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Hoshinoya Resorts – Host to a Myth and to those on a Quest

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We met the Marketing Manager of Hoshino Resorts last week at a meeting in Tokyo. She gave us a vivid account of the marketing and business model behind the unique, Japanese luxury resort and spa brand – Hoshinoya.  But most … Continue reading

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Warhol – At the Edge Between Mass and Class

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The most frequent or observant of our readers might have noticed our pop art theme and Andy Warhol himself popping in and out of our header art.  “What has that got to do with ‘moving brands from mass to class?’, you might ask. … Continue reading

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